Monday, September 19, 2011

Picture your Performance

We experience thousands of influence attempts a day, whether via sound (conversations with friends, family, coworkers; advertisements on radio, TV, Internet; sirens as we're driving; etc) or through visual means (television and TV, billboards and posters, magazines, friends, family, coworkers, etc.).  Regardless of the source, we are bombarded with messages and attempts to move and sway us in one direction versus another.  Why can't we then jump on the influence bandwagon and work to influence ourselves in a desired direction?

It sounds like a logical idea and yet, few people deliberately and strategically structure their environment to influence their thinking and behaviour in a specific direction.  If we look at your work environment in particular (but know that the same would apply for any space that you occupy with any regularity), you likely would be interested in increasing your productivity.  Research shows that surrounding yourself with pictures and memorabilia of people you admire and respect has a positive influence on your productivity and performance. 

In basic terms, the brain doesn't know the difference between the picture and reality.  Therefore, looking at pictures that are motivating, that represent a specific and positive message, influences who you are and what you do.  You need to be very clear about who and what inspires you though.  Consider... what will ALWAYS drive and push you forward.

Just as we know that certain colours work to soothe and comfort, while others increase our feeling of stress and anxiety, so too do we now know that pictures can create certain responses in us as well.  Bear in mind too that these images are highly personal.  What works for the guy sitting next to you may be and feel totally irrelevant to you.  The more open and honest you are with recognising what people and things inspire you, motivate you, drive you, the greater the influence of those images.

One caveat though.  There should be NO family pictures in your work space.  Nope... none!  Pictures of your family - especially your children - drive different behaviours that are often at odds with those that enhance your performance.  I know that I will likely get push back from many who feel that they 'do it all for their kids'...  but research shows us that looking at pictures of our kids may lead us to temper our performance drive rather than rev it up. 

It's up to you to decide what you're trying to accomplish, whether on the job or life in general!

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